The Future Is Coming

It’s a forgone conclusion that author William Gibson is remarkably prescient. This is the guy who coined the term "cyberspace," after all. Sure, every prognosticator gets lucky once in a while — if this wasn’t the case, the Psychic Friends Network would have gone out of business within a few weeks. What’s remarkable about Gibson’s predictions is their consistency. For decades, he has demonstrated an uncanny understanding of how culture and technology are evolving. His 2003 novel, Pattern Recognition, predicted YouTube and presented a world in which viral marketing had grown so prevalent that truth and sincerity were merely quaint notions — eerily similar to the times in which we now live. Considering his track record, the major plot points in his new novel, Zero History, will probably come to pass within a decade. Zero History follows Gibson’s recurring antihero, Hubertus Bigend, the Machiavellian financier previously seen in Pattern Recognition and its 2007 sequel, Spook Country. In Zero History, Bigend responds to the recession by entering the military sector, seeing profit potential in the civilian application of wartime technology. The war machine may be Gibson’s richest subject to date, as he draws uneasy parallels between the military-industrial complex and our hypercapitalist economy. In the process, he re-establishes himself as a writer and prognosticator on the bleeding edge, presenting contemporary parables that double as uncomfortably accurate visions of the world to come.
Thu., Sept. 9, 7:30 p.m., 2010

 
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